a few thoughts on Outlander so far (and open thread)


I’m finally all caught up on Starz’s TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books, including last night’s new episode. (We’re getting new episodes next-day on Amazon U.K. Prime, which means Prime members get to see it for free in the U.K. Which is amazing. AMC’s Turn is doing the same thing. I don’t see how anyone is making money on this, and everyone deserves to get paid for their fantastic work. But I’m gonna enjoy it while I can, this lack of impact on my digital karma.)

Outlander is even better than I could have hoped. I think we need to thank Game of Thrones, the incredible success of which has demonstrated that people are very happy to take entertainment from slow-paced political machinations and other drama that is both personal and has a larger import… at least as long as we get some genuine sexytime along with it. Outlander has been better than GoT in presenting a woman’s perspective, though, which is hardly surprising (though it might have been surprising not too long ago), since it’s very much one woman’s story. There’s been more female nudity than male, but the female nudity hasn’t seen eroticized when it shouldn’t be. But more important than that, I think, is stuff like the attempted-rape scene a few episodes back, which gave us a real woman’s-eye view of what was happening. I can’t recall seeing anything like that onscreen before.

The casting of Claire and Jamie is absolutely perfect. Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan — neither of which I had seen or heard of before — couldn’t be better as performers or as embodiments of characters that so many of us (me included!) have had very strong ideas about in our heads. And a special mention has to go to Tobias Menzies (whose talent I’ve long been impressed with) as both 1945 Frank Randall and 1743 “Black Jack” Randall, who are so very different from each other. I can sort of understand why some people sometimes find it difficult to distinguish an actor from the character he plays; it’s a testament to an actor’s talent, in fact. But in this case, those folks must be having their heads explode, because gentle Frank and sadistic Jack couldn’t be more opposite. Maybe this will be a situation that will make those people really get, on a gut level, that it’s all pretend, because Menzies couldn’t possible be like both of the men he is portraying here.

What do you think? Enjoying the show so far?

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